The Atheist Manifesto
Firstly, not all my reasons are purely logical but some are merely subjective evaluations. For the purposes of this article Atheist is defined as "one who does not believe in the existence of God or Gods and operationally believes that there is no God". Note the use of the word operationally: meaning that I believe such a thing for the purposes of decision making within my life, but I am not 100% certain. (I particularly like point 19).
1. I have received no IMO trustworthy accounts of any interaction of any God or Gods with any humans. All accounts of such encounters that I have encountered thus far have been clouded by ulterior motive, need for self-convincing, drugs or hoax. Basically because these reports are of a supernatural, immeasurable or unbelievable kind, it is easier to doubt the source than credit the information.
The authenticity of the Qur'an is well established. It claims to be the essential record of the revelation from God to mankind through the last prophet and messenger Muhammad (Peace be upon him). You must judge for yourself if you agree with this claim, but it is certainly a trustworthy record. See :
The writing of the Qur'an
2. There are thousands of differing religious belief structures which are mutually exclusive and equally believable. Some of these belief structures do not involve deities. The major point being which one? And if one, why one? Why any, isn't it just as likely that all of them got it wrong?
Islam Is The Only Truly Universal Religion
3. As history has progressed, the role of Gods has decreased as understanding has replaced supernatural explanations for natural events. If there were no God, then one would think it likely that in our stage of development, the hypothetical God would only be responsible for those things which we do not currently understand. In other words the remaining God or Gods in our modern society will only be necessary for the "possibly" supernatural parts of existence. However because 500 years ago God/s were necessary to explain the perfection of the heavens, where as now we know it's to do with the 4 forces of nature and the 3 families of matter, then I do not see why this trend will not continue, as it has for thousands of years now, until understanding will eventually replace all of the hypothetical God's reasons for existence.
The world is governed by mathematical laws - Not God!
4. If there is a God, how did such a being come into existence? The Big Bang Theory is, on the surface, a remarkably simple idea. However I have heard no such ideas contemplating the creation of God.
The problem you run into here is the notion that anyone knows God. Since you can never fully comprehend what God is, it is meaningless to ask 'how did such a being come into existence?'; to ask such a question puts limits on what 'such a being' is. These limits would be invalid and arbitrary. For further arguments connected with this one see:
5. People who seem to have a broad knowledge about the workings of the universe as we know it so far do not think that a God is necessary to obtain a working hypotheses of the world around them. E.g Albert Einstein. Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, David Suzuki, Arthur C. Clarke etc. Here I am talking people who know a lot about a large number of fields of science and philosophy. I believe that belief in an all-powerful being is intellectual weakness as is the requirement for an afterlife to avoid the fear of death.
It is one of the clearest signs of intellectual weakness to base your convictions on imitating someone else's opinions and beliefs. It is simply the attitude of a child copying daddy. The main reason many academics in the sciences are not believers in God is because of the long history of doing battle with the Christian church from Galileo onwards. Science and religion are seen as incompatible for this reason. Islam has never had such a battle with science indeed the cradle of modern science was in the Islamic world.
6. Much of the work of religion seems to be based on guesswork or pure creativity. The age of the Earth, the age of homo sapiens, history as it happened over the thousands of years seem to differ from religion to religion and, most importantly, differ from the objective findings of archaeologists, geologists, biologists etc.
Scientific facts have proven religious arguments and understandings of existence quite wrong!
7. I could not enjoy Monty Python half as much, were I a theist. But on a more serious note. I have read that some high percentage of New York Catholic Priests were diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic by the MMPI (I think it was around 60%, well over 1000 times the national average maybe someone could supply me with a reference), and also the systems of temporal lobe syndrome (or epilepsy) correlate highly with religiosity. In other words sick people become devout religious types. I do not have any symptoms of schizophrenia or temporal lobe epilepsy.
What you are describing here is the phenomenon of people who try to be Christians despite the mass of evidence showing that huge and fundamental contradictions exist in the doctrines. Particularly the life of priests (which don't exist in Islam) is quite unnatural and bound to make people a bit strange.
8. I have never seen the distinction between Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, God, the Googy Monster, or distinctly pink invisible unicorns. All of these things seemed to be stories told to you by your parents that you eventually grew out of.
Well then, you never understood what God is. Not an unusual problem given the distorted explanations present in the (Post?) Christian West. For a clear explanation see
OK then, Convince me - why accept Islam?
From now on I'll deal distinctly with why I am not a Christian.
9. I have discussed religion with many theists (3 of which I have converted to atheism) and most of them cannot answer the most simple inconsistencies in their belief systems. Most of them make great sacrifice for their belief systems and therefore undergo dissonance when confronted with ideological impasses. This leads therefore to not think about the inconsistency, it's better to bury the dissonance (avoidance behaviours) rather than confront the dissonance and move your belief system accordingly, which may cause much extra dissonance. This is why I believe we should set up Zealots Anonymous all over the world to help Christians and other cultists come down from their mind bending cults.
I presume when you say theist you actually mean Christian. If so, I really cannot complain about your point here. It is quite accurate for Christian zealots. I recall having a discussion with some Christians about the contradictions in their doctrines. Every contradiction turns for them into a 'divine mystery' which our 'mere human reason' cannot fathom. I asked whether this meant that I cannot reason with them about their faith. They said "Yes - exactly!". My reply was "Then you are unreasonable, your beliefs are unreasonable and there is really no point in talking to you - Good Bye".
10. Having done psychology I have come across the Gazzanigga split brain studies and numerous studies involving personality alteration via neurotransmitter infusion. These operations and drugs which affect the synaptic gap in neurones can and do radically alter peoples personality profiles. Their basic awareness, their memories, their mores, their reactions, their processing capacity, their motor functions: every function of the brain which has been hypothesised as part of the mind or soul can be and is affected by these treatments. Why would the soul alter due to physical changes in the brain? Isn't it much simpler to believe that these personality functions are the direct result of the brain and not of some intermediary supernatural soul which accomplishes nothing?
This is not really an important theme in Islam. God endowed man with a soul and this is defined in the Qur'an as "God breathing into man of His spirit". What is this spirit? Well, Muhammad (saws) was asked this question and the answer is recorded in the Qur'an: "They ask you about the spirit Say: "The spirit is from a command of my Lord and I have only given you (people) a small amount of the knowledge." Surah 17 verse 85
11. History has shown that those viewpoints or ideologies with the most aggressive doctrine are more likely to survive the centuries. Throughout the history of Christianity and Islam is numerous examples of this aggressive viewpoint. This is why they are the dominant views today. So why, in particular, should the most aggressive ideologies necessarily be the right ones?
Islam is not aggressive. Assertive maybe, but not aggressive. Aggression is a sin in Islam and in particular, whereas in Christianity from the time of Augustine forcing conversion to Christianity was allowed, in Islam it has always been forbidden to force people into Islam due to a direct command in the Qur'an:
Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error; whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.
Qur'an Surah 2 verse 256
12. A lot of testimony about the existence of a supreme rightness or God comes from Xtians and Moslems who claim to have felt God due to this spiritual ecstasy they had felt during a "religious experience". However I also have felt similar feelings to what they described as I sit upon a country hill at night underneath a cloudless sky and can "feel" Earth as a giant spaceship speeding through the Galaxy. I become so overwhelmed by the immensity and beauty of it all that I stare for hours. However I still understand the basic principles behind how the whole of the universe exists, and none of it requires a God.
You may understand some basic principles behind how the universe came into existence but if you had an inquiring mind you would wonder at where these principles came from. To an inquiring mind there always ought to be a deeper explanation to what we see. It is not adequate to say that the universe is as it is without searching for deeper explanations any more than saying that grass is green because 'it just is'. A good mind searches for ever better explanations and these explanations must end in the existence of God. To understand why see the page:
OK then, convince me - why accept Islam?
13. Believing anything with a conviction that it precludes questioning is merely beyond my capacity. I simply can't do it. I have an enquiring mind and I have found my beliefs to be wrong before so why not again in the future. To believe beyond question in a supreme, all-loving deity seems absurd to me for the mere reason that it asks you to suspend reason.
This may have been your unfortunate experience in experiencing Christianity but you will not find the same attitude in Islam. If you read the Qur'an you will find it full of praise for people who use their reason (the wallpaper on this website is a verse repeated in several places in the Qur'an and means for the people who think) and failure to use reason is cited condemned. Here is an example verse:
The analogy of those who disbelieve is like when someone calls out to something that hears nothing except a shout and cry, (they are) deaf dumb and blind (for) they don't use their reason.
Qur'an Surah 2 verse 171
14. Too often in the past has religion been used as an excuse for the great evils of human beings. Kings have promised the subjects that they rule by divine right or that they themselves are descendant from Gods and are therefore Gods themselves. Torture, genocide, racism, slavery, invasions, mass rape, and war have all been justified under the auspices of divine authorisation. This represents to me that religion is a powerful tool used by those smitten with power for unscrupulous ends (was that poetic or what). I do not want to be associated with such vile acts any more than being human already implicates me.
It is interesting to note that you chose to put this under the reasons why you reject Christianity and yet you generalise to all religion. This generalisation is not justified. From an Islamic perspective any organised church hierarchy or notion of divine right of kings is a form of placing a rival authority to the command of God himself and is a forbidden sin. Each individual is responsible for their own salvation if necessary through defying any earthly authority.
So much wrong has been done in the name of God.
15. Too often the church does back flips and makes errors. If the church hierarchy were truly led by a divinity (as most claim) they would not make such glaring errors. It is because of this desire to maintain a divine public image that the church is loathe to admit to mistakes until the mistake is shown to be ludicrously obvious (e.g. Galileo).
There is no church in Islam. All human beings stand as equals before God directly responsible for themselves and equally capable of making mistakes.
There is no church hierarchy in Islam
16. As I point out the problems with each individual denomination under the Christian umbrella, Christians will often defend by saying "Oh well, THEY'RE not real Christians, but my church or I AM". This is so common that for each claim of true Christianity there is probably over a hundred other denominations chastising them as not real Christians.
This sort of excuse doesn't exist for Muslims. It is considered a terrible sin to accuse another person who has declared themselves a Muslim not to be one. Anyone who declares their faith ('takes shahada') must be considered a Muslim by all other Muslims.
17. Church teachings are sexist, judgmental, arrogant, inconsistent, filled with authoritative explanation rather than rational explanation and are therefore not conducive to learning a good life philosophy.
Since there is no church in Islam you have no obstacle to learning how to live a good life. See above response to your point 15.
18. The Bible has literally hundreds of ambiguities, inconsistencies, falsehoods, and ascriptions to God of horrific, puerile behaviour. Anyone who does not acknowledge that this is true really is not reading the Bible seriously or has a major mental block in the way of them seeing it. The Bible is bunk, there is NO denying that. Besides there is multiple versions of this book. It is constantly being updated (read "rewritten") to suit the leaders of the church responsible for the particular version that produce it. The is no such thing as "The Bible" it is like saying "The Apple is better than the IBM". Which Apple? Which IBM? Which Bible? The excuses that Xtians offer for Bible inconsistencies are extremely weak and remind one of the sort of things that die-hard scientists, clinging to an old dogma, produce in order to protect an old dogma.
Contrast this with the Qur'an. The Qur'an does not suffer any of these problems. See:
The Amazing Qur'an
19. The anthropocentric view is a dangerous view for humans to have at this point of time. Humans, even non-theists, believe for some reason that the universe is here for them and that we will not be destroyed because there is some purpose. This abrogates responsibility. In order for our species to survive, and personally I think that this would be a good eventuality, we must realise that the universe is as ignorant of us as any other piece of space dust and cares nought whether we propagate and fill the universe or extinguish in a nuclear blaze. We are responsible for our own survival. We cannot look to some all powerful Daddy to come in, when we have sufficiently stuffed it up for us to learn our lesson, and make it all right again. Once we stuff it up, it's stuffed up. Religions promote an anthropocentric view, to the detriment of our species. It is for this reason that I actively oppose Christianity and any other anthropocentric religion.
Fortunately Islam is not anthropocentric:
Assuredly the creation of the heavens and the earth is a greater matter than the the creation of humanity, yet most people don't know it.
Qur'an Surah 40 Verse 57
20. Religions have played their role in history. They were one of the major cultural influences in uniting peoples into close-knit communities. It enabled the survival of the species through some of it's toughest tests. But we have reached adolescence now and we must give up our childhood fantasies. We must quickly reach maturity before we become another teenage drink/driving or drug overdose or suicide statistic in the Universe's intelligent race survival book. I'd like to be part of the maturing process not the part that holds on to childhood days.
Here your argument is again generalised to all religion based on your perception of Christian beliefs. In Islam the concept of belief is qualitatively different to that of Christianity and so your analogy cannot work.
See in particular
The Sin of Disbelief
21. No-one has given me a good explanation of why humans are any more deserving of a soul and an after-life than other animals. When did we acquire a soul (at birth, at conception, at baptism, never)? Why don't dolphins get souls? There are many unanswered questions in Christianity: Should we use contraception, pop-up toasters, refrigerators? None of these things are mentioned in the so called God's word. If God had written the holy word, why did He write some of it allegorically and other parts literally without marking the allegorical parts clearly to distinguish them from the literal sections. Basically, if the Bibles are meant to be manuals for life, they are extremely poorly written and are highly confusing and are unclear on the most basic points. I am sure a God could do a much better job. It makes much more sense that they are not the works of a God but are the works of people attempting to keep control of their flock.
God HAS provided mankind with a much better book than the Bible as a manual for life - it is the Qur'an:
This is the book without doubt in it; a guidance for all the God conscious.
Qur'an Surah 2 Verse 2
22. Since the beginning, religions have attempted to make predictions about the future and have been invariably wrong. Despite this appalling track-record, religious leaders continually predict the date of some Armageddon or future mundane event (such as resurrections of exorcised wives: we saw this in Australia recently). Some of the evangelical types have told their flock the "God has told me to raise 3 million by next week". This kind of blatant fleecing of the sheep-like video sotted tele-Christian flock only clings to vestiges of morality via the fact that those who are ripped off by it are so bloody thick.
Again you generalise to all religion in this argument against what you see in Christianity. This experience is quite alien to Muslims.
23. Any one of these reasons may be refuted, but in collaboration they shore up their strength in order to make only one option available to me in my choice between theism and atheism. Since this was last posted a number of people have contributed to it and hope that more people will continue to point out errors, suggest additions, demand an improved explanation of points. Anyone may use this in any way they see fit, except to get me in trouble. Jeff.
I my humble opinion all your 22 reasons have been refuted.